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Statement by Ms. Dong Zhihua, Counselor of the Chinese Delegation at the High-level Meeting on "Happiness and Well-being: Defining a New Economic Paradigm"

2012-04-02 21:46

Mr. Chairman,

At the outset, the Chinese delegation wishes to express appreciation to Bhutan for convening this high-level meeting and welcomes the presence of and the statement by H.E. Prime Minister Thinley.

The gross national happiness (GNH) initiative by Bhutan has prompted the international community to actively explore a brand new economic paradigm for a balanced development of population, resources and environment and pay greater attention to the protection of natural resources, the maintenance of ecological equilibrium, the inheritance of traditional culture and knowledge, and the promotion of the happiness of the current and future generations. On the whole, this initiative conforms to the concept of sustainable development and is of positive significance. China would like to offer some preliminary observations and proposals:

First of all, in face of current multiple challenges such as the financial crisis, climate change, and energy and food security, the traditional mode of development that seeks economic growth at the expense of resources and environment is no longer tenable. Bhutan’s initiative will help the international community to reflect on the current mode of economic development and explore a path to a comprehensive, coordinated and sustainable development that strikes a balance between economic and social development and environmental protection.

Secondly, since countries differ in natural conditions, resources endowment and level of development, there is no universal model for sustainable development and it is hard to apply a uniform set of mandatory indicators. Many developing countries are still struggling to achieve the MDGs. For them, eradication of poverty remains the primary task. The developed countries on their part should take the lead in changing unsustainable patterns of production and consumption.

Thirdly, we believe that while Bhutan’s initiative has offered a new way of thinking for the international community on the promotion and realization of sustainable development, its content needs further substantiation and clarification. The feasibility and effect of some proposals such as calculating the environmental cost of the production process should be further assessed. We would welcome the government of Bhutan to host follow-up activities such as side-events during Rio+20 to facilitate further discussions on the relevant topic.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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